Rare Maundy Money Coin Charms - Victorian
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Directory: Archives: Collectibles: Numismatics: Pre 1900: Item # 154061
GlitzQueen History and Art to Wear
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Since the time of Edward I, who reigned from 1272 to 1307, English monarchs have observed Maundy (or Maunday) Thursday - the day before Good Friday - by distributing specially struck fine silver coins (Maundy Money) and other gifts to the "Deserving Poor" in a major cathedral service. The term "Maundy" derives, like "mandatory," from the Latin "mandatum" - meaning command. It refers to the commandment, "Love one another," expressed by Jesus at the Last Supper when he washed disciples' feet. According to my research, James II was the last monarch who actually did it that, too.
Our array of Victorian Maundy coins - drilled long ago for wear as charms or pendants - includes a dozen examples, all from the Early Victorian period. Five date from the first full year of her reign (1838), five from 1843, one from 1848 and one from 1862. The monarch's portrait - a youthful likeness - appears on the front of each and, on reverse, the denomination is represented in the style still currrent, showing the number beneath a crown.
The number of Maundy Money sets produced each year varied with the monarch's age. For instance, Victoria was only 18 at Easter in 1838, so she honored 18 worthy recipients - each receiving 4 coins of different values. Thus, since we have five of the 2 pence coins minted that year, there should be only 13 more of these anywhere in existence. The rarity of our five 1843 coins (all denominated 1 1/2 pence) is almost as extreme, since she was then just 23.
Our Victorian coins are estate items recently discovered during a house clearance in northern England - also the source of our 4 Georgian and 8 James II examples.